15 April 2024
  • 15 April 2024

The Space Between Us by Doug Johnstone book review

on 29 December 2023 0

The Space Between Us by Doug Johnstone, reviewed by local councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes

The Space Between Us is a masterful step into sci-fi from Scottish Crime writer Doug Johnstone.

In Edinburgh, dozens of people experience strokes at the same time after seeing strange lights in the sky. Three of these people find themselves in the same hospital room, miraculously fully recovered only hours after the incidents.


Lennox is a care experienced mixed-race teenager, being racially and violently attacked in a park. Ava is eight months pregnant and driving away from her home and her abusive husband. Heather has a brain tumour and is grieving her daughter, but has just filled her pockets with stones and walked into the sea.

They wake up in their hospital room to news that an octopus-like creature has washed up on the beach. Presuming it’s connected to the strange lights, they go in search of it.

What follows is a race across Scotland from Edinburgh to the Highlands. Pursued by the police, Ava’s husband and some armed men who will stop at nothing to find the mysterious entity, the trio bond as they try to keep them safe, all the while questioning why they are connected and what Sandy is doing there. 

The story is alternately told from their perspectives and that of journalist Ewan, who is sucked into their plans. At various points, people put their necks on the line to help. The balance of goodies and baddies is perfect and the pacing means you can’t stop reading.

When you consider where our trio of protagonists begin from, it might surprise you to find a story that’s warm, joyful and life affirming. Yet at its core, it’s a tale about connection with people – and otherworldly beings  – who are different from us.


We have loads more book reviews online by Lisa-Marie Hughes and Brian Hannan from Abbey Books in Paisley including:

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